‘We want to be India’s Oxford’

Tim Barton, managing director, Global Academic Publishing, Oxford University Press (OUP), talks to BWs JOE C. MATHEW on publishing in India

Q: How do you rate India’s academic publishing in­dustry? What provides an extra edge to OUP?

A: India’s publishing industry is astonish­ingly vibrant and varied. OUP’s contributions he in providing both quality and service. The press’s rigor­ous review process ensures that our publications have

been vetted by experts and assessed by scholars of high repute in India who are our delegates. We have established networks and resources that ensure our authors’ books reach vari­ous audiences, both within India and globally.

Q: How promising is In­dia’s market for the global academic publishing divi­sion of OUP?

A: We are encouraged by the recent experiences in expanding our publish­ing in India. We have been aggressively add­ing resources across our editorial, marketing, and sales functions, and are taking steps to ensure that our Indian authors benefit from the advantages that come with being an Oxford author. OUP is already a well known and respected imprint here, but we are still seeking out options to make its experience abet­ter one. OUP will always behave like a 100-year-old startup, with a focus on the needs of Indian authors and customers. We want to be India’s Oxford, not simply Oxford India.

Q: What are the chal­lenges India poses?

A: India poses the same challenges as any other country. Frankly speaking, authors and readers want the same thing — excellent, well-produced books that are accessibly priced — and we know how to publish well. While we are not complacent about the chal­lenges that piracy poses, our current emphasis is on building our business by
doing the best possible job.

Q: Will allying with In­dian universities work as a business strategy?

A: OUP often collaborates with universities on their research dissemination priorities. We enjoy fruitful relationships with univer­sity centres, and are keen to explore in India. It needs a mutual benefit to such alli­ances, where the union cre­ates value for both, mainly, for our constituents.

Q: How fast is the growth of digital products?

A: At Oxford, we be­lieve print and digital go hand in hand, and publishers should strive to be ‘format-agnostic’, meaning that we provide the works of our authors in a manner preferred by readers. This can be an expensive proposition for a publisher, so we need to time our expansion into various formats with the development of the market. Print is a wonder­ful, durable technology that has served us well for centuries but, we can’t un­derestimate the benefits digital can provide for re­searchers and readers. CD

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